Rothamsted Research has been granted permission by Defra to carry out a field trial to test whether seeds of GM Camelina plants are able to make significant quantities of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids under field conditions.
Prof Cathie Martin, Group Leader at the John Innes Centre, said:
“Modern diets contain low levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and high levels of omega 6 PUFAs. Higher omega-3 levels are strongly associated with health and protection from a range of chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases, cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.
“Crops that produce oils high in omega-3 offer a sustainable supply of these health beneficial products for the first time. A second-generation GM crop such as Camelina has the potential to increase omega 3 in our diets, which could help prevent some of the most serious chronic diseases. I welcome the decision to trial these crops, as it’s the only way to see if they can really deliver.”